Thursday, May 06, 2010

Unbelievable: Dispersants Used On Spilled Oil In Gulf

First we pointed out that burning the spilled oil in the Gulf would add air pollution to the ocean water pollution. Now huge quantities of toxic dispersant chemicals are being poured into the Gulf in an effort to disperse the oil. So now we have double water pollution and air pollution as a result of the offshore oil drilling accident. Mother Nature is being hammered in the Gulf.

Information about dispersants is "kept secret under competitive trade laws." But two different dispersants sold under the banner of Corexit were being used in the Gulf to break up the oil in the hope that it will help in preventing coastline oil coatings. The Corexit brand is owned by an Illinois-based company called Nalco: Nalco's Material Safety Data Sheets for "Dispersant Type 1," Corexit 9500 (PDF); and "Dispersant Type 2," Corexit 9527A (PDF): 9500's states that "Component substances have a potential to bioconcentrate," while the one for 9527A has the Substances that bioconcentrate move from water into fish, where they damage the fish itself, as well as pass chemicals on to predator fish -- and on up the food chain, to human eaters.

Corexit 9527: excessive exposure may cause central nervous system effects, nausea, vomiting, anesthetic or narcotic effects," and "repeated or excessive exposure to butoxyethanol [an active ingredient] may cause injury to red blood cells (hemolysis), kidney or the liver. Prolonged and/or repeated exposure through inhalation or extensive skin contact with EGBE [butoxyethanol] may result in damage to the blood and kidneys.

Both 9500 and 9527 are composed of three potentially hazardous substances. They share two in common, organic sulfonic acid salt and propylene glycol. In addition to those two, Corexit 9500 contains something called "Distillates, petroleum, hydrotreated light," while Corexit 9527 contains 2-Butoxyethanol. Petroleum distillates and 2-Butoxyethanol are both solvents. (Grist, 5/6/2010)

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